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Suzanne Valadon

September 23, 1865 - April 7, 1938


(September 23, 1865 – April 7, 1938) French

By the age of ten, Suzanne Valadon began working a variety of jobs, including waitressing, selling vegetables, and circus performing until pursuing interests in art. She first worked for artists as a model, then after observation, self-taught herself drawing and painting. Edgar Degas is notably the first to buy drawings from her, after befriending the artist in 1890 he introduced her to collectors and taught her soft-ground sketching. Suzanne Valadon is most well known for rendering the female nude in an unidealized image, which upset the social norm of the time. She depicted women’s bodies from a woman’s perspective and used bold lines with vibrant colors. Arguably, this break from tradition stemmed from her lack of formal training and past modeling experience. In her lifetime, she produced 273 drawings, 478 paintings, and 31 etchings with a variety of media and not confined to one style or aesthetic.

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